Non-EU patients to be charged 150% for NHS treatment

The government has decided to charge some patients from outside Europe using the NHS 150% of the cost of treatment, Department of Health has announced.

The move is part of the new incentives for the NHS to recover costs from visitors and migrants using the NHS.

The NHS hopes to recover up to £500 million a year by the middle of the next parliament from treating foreign visitors and migrants.

In June, it was revealed that the NHS will receive an extra 25% on the top of the cost of every procedure they perform for an EEA migrant or visitor with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

A non-EEA visitor will be charged for their care plus an extra 50 per cent. This means that for a £100 procedure, they could be billed up to £150.

For those who are temporary migrants from outside the EEA and are here for longer than six months, a new health surcharge will be applied when they submit an application for leave to enter or remain in the UK. This surcharge could generate up to £200 million per annum in the future.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We have no problem with international visitors using the NHS as long as they pay for it – just as British families do through their taxes. These plans will help recoup up to £500 million a year, making sure the NHS is better resourced and more sustainable at a time when doctors and nurses on the frontline are working very hard.”

In summer, trials will start in some A&E departments to explore how details can be taken from patients with an EHIC when they register for care.

The government is also exploring options for recovering the costs of primary care services. Eligibility to free NHS prescriptions, optical vouchers and subsidised NHS dental treatment will also be tightened.

The EEA incentive scheme will be introduced in autumn 2014 while the non-EEA incentives will begin in spring 2015.

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